Croatia defender Lovren banned for insulting Spain
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has banned defender Dejan Lovren from Croatia's opening European Championship qualifier after he appeared in a video insulting Spain.
The video was posted shortly after Croatia beat Spain 3-2 in November. It featured Lovren mocking Spain and appearing to hint he deliberately stuck Spain's Sergio Ramos with his elbow.
UEFA banned Lovren from Croatia's home qualifier against Azerbaijan on March 21.
Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Newcastle gives Benitez the blues
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool was six points clear at the top of the English Premier League after strolling past Newcastle 4-0 at Anfield on Wednesday.
While defending champion Manchester City was losing for the second game in a row, at Leicester, Juergen Klopp's men were showing how desperate they are to secure the club's first top-flight title since 1990.
Matip injury adds to Liverpool’s defensive woes
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Premier League leader Liverpool is facing an injury crisis in defense heading into the busy festive program in English soccer.
The club says center back Joel Matip will be out for up to six weeks after breaking his collarbone during the 1-0 win over Napoli on Tuesday that secured Liverpool a place in the Champions League knockout stage. Matip is set for an operation.
Mahrez penalty miss costs City victory at Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Riyad Mahrez missed an 85th-minute penalty as Manchester City wasted a chance to move clear of Premier League title rival Liverpool following a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday.
The two teams started the highly anticipated encounter locked together at the top of the standings and City looked set to beat Juergen Klopp's Liverpool when Mahrez ballooned his spot kick way over the crossbar, after substitute Leroy Sane had been brought down by Virgil van Dijk.
Croatian TV says Liverpool’s Lovren charged with perjury
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatian state TV said Wednesday that Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has been charged with perjury for allegedly giving false testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director sentenced for embezzlement and tax fraud.
The report said prosecutors in the eastern town of Osijek are accusing Lovren of giving a false statement in court during the corruption trial of former Dinamo director Zdravko Mamic and three others.
Croatia fears World Cup chance may never come again
MOSCOW (AP) — The rain hid Croatia's tears.
After Luka Modric collected his Golden Ball award in a downpour, he shared an emotional embrace with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, both wearing the country's red-and-white checkered uniform.
Croatia knows Sunday's 4-2 loss to France in the World Cup final was a chance that may not come again anytime soon.
"We were so close and we played the best soccer. We deserved more," said Modric, who at 32 may have played in his last World Cup match.
MOSCOW (AP) — Protest group Pussy Riot, long a thorn in Vladimir Putin's side, claimed responsibility Sunday for four people who brought the World Cup final to a brief halt by running onto the field dressed in police uniforms as the Russian president and a global audience watched.
Stewards tackled the three women and one man who charged onto the field simultaneously in the 52nd minute of one of the world's most viewed sporting events.
MOSCOW (AP) — A billion-dollar assembly of stars makes France the favorite for the World Cup final, a scenario that Dejan Lovren is pitching as perfect for Croatia's biggest ever game.
"We love to be the underdogs," Lovren said in the wake of Croatia's England 2-1 extra-time win over England.
With a population of 4.3 million and a history of struggle, it's easy to see why. Not since Uruguay's win in 1950 has a country of so few people reached a World Cup final.
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday at the World Cup (all times local):
Croatia defender Dejan Lovren says people should show him more respect now he's going to play in a World Cup final.
Lovren says "I deserve this" after Croatia's 2-1 extra-time win over England, and used an expletive to describe all he has been through.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Croatia was there at England's lowest ebb this century in international soccer, and it'll be there as the English team tries to peak.
For many England supporters, the 3-2 loss to Croatia in November 2007 was a national embarrassment. Coach Steve McClaren's tactics floundered as he clutched an umbrella in pouring rain on the sidelines at Wembley, and he was dubbed "the Wally with the brolly" following the loss that meant England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
ROSCHINO, Russia (AP) — They are hardly the words Lionel Messi and Argentina wanted to hear with their World Cup future hanging in the balance.
Dejan Lovren raised the likelihood of Croatia resting players for its last group game against Iceland, as much to protect the six who are threatened by suspension via an accumulation of yellow cards than to rest anyone ahead the knockout stage.
OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) — Former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic was sentenced Wednesday to 6 1/2 years in prison for embezzlement and tax evasion over deals that included the sale of Croatia World Cup stars Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren.
Mamic, 58, was not in court in the eastern town of Osijek when judges read the verdict and sentence. He left for neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina a day ahead of the court session and described the verdict as "monstrous."
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — There were times this season when it felt like Dejan Lovren's days at Liverpool were numbered.
Like when the defender was substituted 31 minutes into a humiliating 4-1 loss at Tottenham in the English Premier League in October, having been at fault for the opening two goals. He didn't play the next three games.
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — In possibly their last World Cup as midfield partners, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were named Monday in the provisional Croatia squad for the tournament in Russia.
Modric's focus could be distracted by perjury charges he faces in his country for testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director charged with embezzlement and tax fraud.
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool defender Joel Matip is set to miss the rest of the season because of a thigh injury that requires an operation.
The center back was hurt in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the English Premier League on Saturday, although he was able to play the full game.
Liverpool said on Tuesday "surgery is expected to be required to correct the problem" and that is likely to bring an early end to Matip's season.
Klavan grabs late winner for Liverpool at Burnley
BURNLEY, England (AP) — Ragnar Klavan headed home from close range in the fourth minute of stoppage time to earn Liverpool a 2-1 win at Burnley in the Premier League on Monday.
The Estonia defender got on the end of a nod-down by fellow center back Dejan Lovren to grab the winner at Turf Moor, sealing Liverpool's third straight win and cementing fourth place in the standings for Juergen Klopp's side.
Salah reaches 20 goals as Liverpool thrashes Bournemouth 4-0
BOURNEMOUTH, England (AP) — Mohamed Salah reached 20 goals in all competitions in his first season for Liverpool by scoring in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth that lifted his team into the Premier League's top four on Sunday.
In a devastating attacking display by Liverpool on the south coast, the Egypt winger was an inevitable scorer to move his league-high tally to 14 goals.
Rooney’s penalty earns Everton 1-1 draw in Merseyside derby
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Wayne Rooney converted a 77th-minute penalty as Everton snatched a point in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in the Merseyside derby in the Premier League on Sunday.
Liverpool took the lead through Mohamed Salah's league-high 13th goal of the campaign and dominated the game until Dominic Calvert-Lewin fell to the ground after being pushed in the back by Dejan Lovren.
Sevilla fights back to draw 2-2 at Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool was undermined by more defensive sloppiness and a missed penalty in a 2-2 draw with Sevilla in a Champions League match that featured two sendings-off and a spat between coaching staff at Anfield on Wednesday.
Joaquin Correa earned a point for Sevilla by curling home from just inside the area in the 72nd minute after Liverpool switched off at a throw-in, allowing Luis Muriel to receive the ball and run through unchecked.
OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) — Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren's testimony at a Croatian soccer corruption trial was postponed Wednesday after the main suspect fired his lawyers during a hearing.
Lovren, who is not a suspect, was to testify about his financial deals with former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic, who has been charged with embezzlement and tax evasion.
Saints defy talent drain to make Wembley final a reality
LONDON (AP) — Southampton is one win away from proving that a club can succeed despite losing a string of top players.
The team from the England's south coast will be at Wembley Stadium on Sunday to face Manchester United in the League Cup final, looking to win its first major trophy in 41 years.